After dropping Robin off at the DaVinci Institute I headed 8 miles away to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR. Situated just east of Denver this former bombing range is now a grassland preserve that is home to Western Meadowlarks, Prairie Dogs, Bison and Mule Deer.
I arrived at the 64th Street Entrance and drove into the NWR, stopping by the pond on my left and seeing Cinnamon Teal (8), American Avocet (4) and Mallards. I would return to the pond to digiscope the birds once I made an initial loop around the place. Western Meadowlarks were all over the place, as were several pairs of Black-billed Magpies.
I spent some time photographing the numerous Prairie Dogs. Although the ladies at the Visitor Center said that Burrowing Owls were all over the place, I failed to see a single bird during the morning and evening hours.
The Bison area had signs indicating that they are present and possible hazards. I found one standing in the middle of the road and blocking traffic in both directions. Several more were on either side of the road and quietly enjoying the mild morning.
At the Visitor Center I found a Say’s Phoebe.
I then went over to the pond and spent some time digiscoping Prairie Dogs, Horned Larks, and the American Avocets. The Cinnamon Teal were too far to get any real closeup images.
Back in the car I made another loop, this time to Rattlesnake Hill to see if any Burrowing Owls could be seen. No luck. But, I did get some images of soaring Swainson’s Hawks, a closeup of a Western Meadowlark, Black-billed Magpie.
I found the Wildlife Drive a bit too late. I was supposed to have lunch today w/ my old boss, so I had to forego the drive until later this afternoon (w/ Robin). But, along the way I did get some shots of an American Kestrel, saw/heard an Eastern Phoebe, and saws dozens of American Coot, Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon, Gadwall, and Hooded Mergansers on the small lake and larger reservoir near the entrance to the Wildlife Drive.
The evening drive through the Wildlife Drive was fairly uneventful. The Prairie Dogs were out in force, and beside three Swainson’s Hawk I saw little else. Just as well, as I did not have any camera equipment this time.
It was wonderful catching up w/ Dr. Glenn Martin, my old boss, colleague, mentor and friend after 10 years. We had a great lunch at Saltgrass Steak House near the hotel. Good times!